As with most technological advances, wireless doorbells started out somewhat “buggy” (unreliable) and very expensive. In those days, wireless technology wasn’t really ready for prime time. Over time, since the 90s, wireless technology – and the wireless doorbell technology in particular – has improved and gotten more affordable.
In the past, signal strength was lacking and the wireless doorbell could experience interference from almost anything. The wireless doorbell, in those days, was more of an experiment. There was no contest between wired vs. wireless doorbells back then. People really needed to have the traditional hard-wired doorbell wired into their home’s electrical system in order to enjoy a reliable doorbell system. Today, fortunately, the wireless doorbell has become a full-fledged practical reality. So, now that you really have a choice, between the wired vs. wireless doorbell, which one should you choose for your home or business? Following are some factors to help you decide the wired doorbells vs. wireless doorbells question.
Do You Already Have Wiring for a Doorbell in Your Home?
This is the first deciding factor to help you choose between wired vs. wireless doorbells. If you don’t already have wiring for a hard-wired doorbell in your home, the easiest path for you would be to choose wireless. However, the majority of homes do have existing wiring for a doorbell, even if it no longer works. Often, you can use the existing wiring and add a new doorbell button and indoor speaker.
If your home is already wired to include a doorbell, or is just being built, you’re in a true either/or situation. You can just make your choice about wireless vs. hardwired doorbells based upon whether you like the features and flexibility of a wireless doorbell. Or you may decide that you prefer the large selection of decorative doorbell styles available for hard-wired doorbells, allowing you to compliment your home’s decor perfectly.
Wireless doorbells have more features, but fewer designer options. Many wireless doorbells offer functional plain white or beige components, with a few more elaborate designer styles. If you choose a hard-wired doorbell, however, you will find lots more designer choices. Looks range from retro brushed steel to ornate, antique metallic scroll designs to sleek, polished wood doorbell covers.
What’s Good About Wireless Doorbells?
Affordable and versatile, battery-operated wireless doorbells can be placed almost anywhere and take just minutes to install. Radio waves connect the transmitter (the outdoor button or buttons) to the receiver (the bell or speaker inside the house). This renders physical electrical wiring unnecessary. Here are some of the advantages of wireless doorbell technology:
- Versatility: It’s simple to move the location of a wireless doorbell to better fit your home’s layout.
- No changes to the house are required: Some people would rather not drill holes in their walls (although they are very small holes) and run wiring. No holes are needed to a wireless doorbell.
Simple installation: The transmitter button can simply be attached to the wall with the adhesive strip on the back of the unit. The indoor receiver may plug into the wall or run on batteries.
- Range is sufficient for most homes: The range of wireless doorbells has been improved to the point that the radio signals, transmitted from the front porch doorbell button, to indoor receiver can be heard throughout the entire house. Signal ranges vary from 150 feet up to 1000 feet.
- Extenders are available: If you have a large home, extenders (additional receivers) are available to relay the doorbell signal for larger property. There are also portable receivers that you can take with you. These are handy if you’re working in the back yard or garage.
- Multiple channel operation: With this feature, your wireless doorbell avoids interference from a neighbor’s doorbell. If your bell is sounding when the neighbors have a visitor, simply change the frequency of your doorbell to another channel.
Battery powered with long-life batteries: The transmitter buttons are typically powered by long-life lithium batteries, which are usually supplied with the transmitter. The receivers inside the home may plug right in to a wall outlet – or may be run by batteries. (These batteries are not usually supplied.) Most wireless doorbells will operate for up to 2 years before battery replacement is needed.
Chime variety: If you’d like to have the option to change the doorbell tone, tune or melody, many wireless doorbells offer several choices – some even offer 50-plus. This multi-tone capability is also helpful if you want to use multiple doorbell buttons, for instance front door, back door, side door, etc. You can assign a different tune to each door.
Advanced features: Some wireless doorbells offer security and convenience options like intercoms, motion detectors and/or window sensors. There are also models that offer a visual signal – a flashing light – along with (or instead of) the audible doorbell. These audible and flashing light doorbells work well for the hearing impaired. The visual signal is also handy for a business where the noise level would prevent you from hearing a doorbell.
Wired Doorbell Advantages
- More decorative options: Many wireless doorbells offer purely functional plain white or beige components and also offer some designs which are more ornate to match your decor. If you choose a hard-wired doorbell, you will find more designer choices. Looks range from retro brushed steel to ornate, antique metallic scroll designs to sleek wood doorbell covers and more.
- Pricing about the same: As wireless models.
- Fairly easy to install: Since your home may have most of the wiring already.
- Can accommodate lighted push button: If your doorbell is completely hard-wired with no batteries to run down, a lighted button will usually work. With a wireless doorbell or any battery operated doorbell, a lighted button would burn through the batteries too quickly to be practical.
- No concerns about interference or range: The hardwired system can have a range as long as you have wires to support it. There are no signals transmitted over the air, so no interference. (Although wireless systems have options to eliminate these issues.)
- More traditional chimes: For those who prefer the classic doorbell chime tones with rich symphonic sound over whimsical sound options – and those who would never want to change the sounds anyway, hard-wired doorbells work great. You do generally get a unique front door and back door chime sound with a wired doorbell, that’s enough for many homeowners.
How is a Hard-Wired Doorbell Installed?
If you decide you’d like a wired doorbell, electrical wiring must be fed through or run along your walls. Holes must be drilled. Doorbell buttons must be mounted outdoors. Indoors, a speaker or speakers must be mounted and wired run between them and the button outdoors. (Much of this doorbell wiring may already exist in your home.)
The doorbell wiring must then be wired into a transformer near your circuit breaker box to make sure the right amount of voltage goes to the doorbell. A transformer may sound like a big deal, but they’re often in the $20 range and available right here at 1800Doorbell. On our website you can purchase your favorite doorbell and any add-ons or upgrades for security or motion sensing. Once your hard-wired doorbell is installed, it can’t be moved or extended without running more wire and drilling more holes.
Now for the Difficult Choices: Doorbell Styles, Security Features and Options
Once you decide which you prefer in the wireless vs. wired doorbell dilemma, now you have some more difficult decisions to make and options to choose. When choosing a wireless doorbell, you can select models with a variety of safety and convenience features. You can purchase wireless doorbells that offer many different sound options. You can use a different sound for each door and change the doorbell tunes (or sound effects) to celebrate holidays or just for fun.
If you’re going with a hard-wired doorbell, you have a large selection of styles to choose from to fit any decor: from traditional to contemporary to vintage and more. You might choose a hard-wired brushed-nickel contemporary doorbell, a doorbell with handcrafted wood design or another style.
Get Professional Advice and Support from 1800doorbell.com
When you need a wireless or hard-wired doorbell, look no further than 1800Doorbell.com. Please browse through our huge selection of doorbells and accessories. Order online nationwide! If you have questions, just call our toll-free number: 1-800-DOORBELL (366-7235). One of our trained doorbell experts can help you with your decision or answer any questions about products, features and installation. Or, send us an email and we can help you with your choices that way too!